Alma Bottom Pointing Labradors

N4758 350th Street, Elmwood, WI 54740 (715) 639-3933 voc (715) 639-3933 fax

"Letting Labs Point the Way!"  ·
























Hi Folks,

Well, it's time to pick up a pup! A tag-a-long would be great company

!! We've got an interesting group of pups and started dogs available now.


The big news is that the move back to the country is going swimmingly!!! We should be able to breed a few more pups and not have as many people "mad" at me for not having pups.

We now have 240 acres of Training Land, 120 of it in switchgrass and food plots for our Pheasant Breeding/Wild Release Program!! You'll be able to train/test on wild birds 365 days a year as our Game Farm is up and operating. We've got a 5 acre Pond with space for 2 more!! We've got one 15,000 sq. foot Chase Pen constructed for introducing pups to birds, with space for 4 more. There is a Captive Bird Loft currently breeding 1000 homer/barn genetic crosses and we trap 3000 more wild birds in our three additional Pigeon Breeding facilities. You can even munch on the apples in the middle of our 150,000 Lining Field!!

The Computerized and Eco-Heated 4,000 sq. foot Kennel construction proceeds apace and the 4,000 sq. foot Training Center, a three season puppy training/teaching loft is designed and we're starting to pound nails now!! So, stop on by and I'll stick a hammer in your hand while we jaw about dogs. Got 2 spare bedrooms in our B&B Farm House. Country coffee in the morning. Feel free to stay while you look over the pups available. We'll cook on the Seminar Patio, if the deck construction isn't finished, yet.

New this year, we've got a 25,000 sq. foot irrigated Organic Garden up and functioning, so you can have fresh asparagus with your home-shot-and-cured venison breakfast steaks!! If you want, we can pick you up at the airport in the "Cowboy Cadillac"! There's a private strip 30 minutes away. It's important to take some time picking your next field companion of the next decade. We'll spend two days with you looking over and testing all the pups available. No 10 minute-black-box grabs around here.

We like to encourage our clients to run their dogs in field tests. This is a win-win situation for both our clients and the kennel. We continue to support IPLA, APLA, NAVHDA, NAHRA, NSTRA as well as the AKC Hunt and Water tests. For anyone certifying an Alma Bottom bred dog in one of these programs, we will Upgrade Breeding Rights to AKC Full Registration. See the BREEDING RIGHTS section for more details.


So, let me tell you about the preceding four decades, as the Alma Bottom Pointing Lab Breeding Program was developed. We started out breeding Irish Setters with our grandfather in the '50s, gaining an appreciation for a solid running upland dog. In the '60s, we shifted over to labs because of the health of the setter gene pool. In 1985, we watched our top one-year-old, Ticker, start to point. Hmmm, unusual learned behavior, but not impossible for a smart lab running in a pack with a wily old shorthair, we thought. A year later, a 2 year old female adoptee, Abigail, who had never been trained or even introduced to the field, pointed her first day out of the box.

This Is Not Learned Behavior!! What is Going On Here?? Well, someplace along the line, she had picked up some pointing blood, obviously. From where, we weren't certain. Maybe from the wolves, because they point for each other. Time to go back to the books. The books said Mendelian PolyGenetic Multiple Alleles. That's a 50 cent way of saying that the more times you breed pointing labs to pointing labs the more likely the pups are to point, because it takes many generations for the hidden attributes, e.g., staunchness, backing , tripoding, etc., to emerge to their fullest. Sometimes 10 generations, sometimes 25.

Such a program doesn't happen overnight and it has to be directed by Field Testing. So, in '88 we joined with Mayo Kellogg, of Kellogg Kennels and the then DU dog editor and Larry Mueller, the dog editor of Outdoor Life to found the International Pointing Labrador Association (IPLA). Bodo Winterhelt, the founder of NAVHDA was instrumental in helping us to start testing PLs for the natural ability so critical to breeders and puppy buyers. PLs couldn't be run in any association at the time, so it was necessary form our own. Hence, our continuing support for the IPLA Certification Program. Here, by judges unrelated to the breeder, owner, trainer or handler, dogs compete against a constant standard on the basis of their natural abilities. They are judged for a myriad of factors, most importantly their 'Point', but, also critically, their 'Nose'. Without a great nose, no dog can make it to the top. All the information the dog uses is Olfactory. Sight pointers aren't too useful in the field. So, we cull down within our own dogs, (which tend to score in the high end of the spread), to only those that are in the top 15%. We've had to pass on some really beautiful dogs with real sweet temperaments.

In '92 the American Pointing Labrador Association (APLA) evolved from the base established and both organizations continue to do high-quality work. We continue to support APLA, IPLA, NAVHDA, and NAHRA as well as the AKC Hunt and Water tests. For anyone certifying an Alma Bottom bred dog in one of these programs, we will upgrade breeding rights to Full Registration as well as rebate many entry fees. See the BREEDING RIGHTS section for more details.

So, we've bred certified pointers together, taken their certified offspring and bred them to other certified pointers until we've gotten 8 consecutive generations with 25+ certified individuals. But, even more importantly, these breedings have three consecutive DOUBLE-SIDED certified breedings, breeding "like-to-like". This has a multiplier effect, giving you MUCH more than a double-whammy on hidden attributes, MORE than doubling their appearance. It is THIS part of the breeding that really makes the 'point' come forward in spades.

We traveled across the country the last decade field testing dozens of pointing labs, some rumored, some real. We've identified the broadest range of separate individuals from quality culled stock, to form the backbone of our breeding program. And, we continue to check every dog we hear about. This gives you the best protection possible from the emergence of unwanted traits. It means your dog lives longer and stays healthier. We are currently breeding 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Generation pups. Be certain to deal with a breeder doing at least 4th generation genetics, if you want certainty-of-point. Ask if 'Point' is guaranteed in writing and how it's guaranteed.


While at college in the late 1960's, I attended lectures by professor David Mech, who went on to became the "wolf behavior guru" of North America. His research centered on canine behavior; and that behavior could be categorized or more correctly segmented Alpha-Beta-Omega (dominant to submissive). Through Mech's lectures on canine segmentation and my experience with dogs in those years it became clear to me that there was no connection between a dog's ability to hunt and it's level of aggressiveness or dominance. The best hunter in a litter of pups was not necessarily that dog which exhibited the most aggressive or dominant behavior (Alpha).

As a breeder, I began separating my dogs based on hunting ability (drive, nose, intensity, etc.) and not on the basis of "high" dominance within the pack. The result has been a line of dogs that are VERY tractable, and can be trained by beginners with VERY low force necessary. Dogs that exhibit both tractability and strong hunt instinct are the essence of our breeding stock at Alma Bottom. The result are mellow dogs that do dual service as great family pets AND top performers in the field. To this day, we continue to separate our line and breed to the Betas with the highest field drive scores.


From our 30 adult dogs (24 female and 6 male), we breed approximately eight litters per year. From these carefully chosen individuals, we have developed six distinct lines that are different from one another both phenotypically and temperamentally. All are purebred Labrador blood, altho their appearances, sizes, AND applications differ radically. These have been developed to fit both regional AND personal preferences. They are summarized below. Additional lines are currently under development. We only breed ¼ of our females yearly. Rarely has a female been bred more than once every 18-24 months.

Unfortunately, at this time we do not have edited footage of each line available. Ask to find out what raw footage IS available, but the best thing to do is come visit. Then you'll get to know the dogs in full living color!!! That's yellow, chocolate and black to us Lab people!!

TRADITIONAL LINE Based on AB-Doc Evers (YM), Alma Bottom Thor's Thunder (YM) and Alma Bottom Squint (BM). This line displays traditional lab appearance (blocky head, 24" shoulder, hard driving retrieve, and solid 4-footed point.) It has medium body build (75# males, 65# females) with a medium leg. Hips are medium to facilitate water work. Personalities are classically Beta. Most of our breedings have this blood.

SETTER LINE Based on Alma Bottom Toblerone (YM) and Alma Bottom Not-An-Inch (YM) Toby has a 'setter-like' conformation. Tall, thin, narrow, "setter-like" in appearance. This dog can line-track ALL DAY LONG. The point is "somersault" intense. Inch locks on first scent and rarely creeps 'an inch'. Developed through eight generations of mixing many dogs from our line, this blood threads thru all our dogs.

NOSE LINE Based on AB Bownes Cinder (BF). This line was developed to compete with traditional upland dog NOSE capabilities. Developed by testing 8 generations consecutively for the ability to catch a "wisp o' the wind". Cinder repeatedly tests in excess of 350' on single pigeon under standardized field conditions and has tested to 386'. This competes with the BEST of GSPs and ESs when standard tested. Her brother, Alma Bottom Gunner, also repeatedly tests in excess of 350'. We expect to develop 500+ ft noses out of this line. Hips, shoulder, head and leg vary.

DAKOTA LINE Based on Alma Bottom Saluki (YM) This line stands 27" at the shoulder and averages 85# males. It's been developed to challenge the large cover of the Northern Plains. Coat is medium so that it can be thinned for early season upland heat or thickened for deep winter water challenges. Hips are medium to narrow and line track all day long. Head varies.

TEXAS LINE Based on Alma Bottom Abigail Too (YF), and her son, Alma Bottom Doc's Lil Leaker (YM). This line has a 'English Pointer' like conformation. Dogs from this line can 'take-the-heat' that Southern quail/dove hunts generate AND then do ducks/geese in the evening without skipping a beat. This line is shorter at the shoulder, 20"-22" and a thinned under-coat. Hips have been thinned to American standard. Head varies. There are no blacks in this line.

BRITISH LINE Based on Alma Bottom Orange Julia (YF) within our own line. There's no question about Brit temperament, as mellow as I've ever seen! 'Carry' instinct is as high as it comes. However, this line has been developed principally by out-crossing to a series of 'Americanized' British blood, as 'pure' British dogs severely lacked in 'hunt' instinct during our decade of testing. Consequently, we reversed our plan and only used 'Americanized' Brit blood, removed by 3+ generations. This procedure has enabled us to successfully access the temperament and 'carry' benefits, while maintaining quality quartering. Leg, shoulder, coat and hips have been 'Americanized', while maintaining the Brit head.


We have a Wild Bird Introduction Program that pups go thru before we release 'em to you. We couldn't even think of doing this without the Chase Pen: 15,000 sq. feet with a 12' ceiling, filled with 5 hayracks full of old brush and Xmas trees!! Little lake and a river! Comes as close to simulating real field conditions as anything I've experienced in 30 years of dogging:

  • Stage 1 PreNatal Introduction In-Vitro, starting at conception to 5 days pre-whelp, 3x weekly.
  • Stage 2 1-2 weeks: Introduction to feathers and skin in the kennel box.
  • Stage 3 3-4 weeks: Live bird chase in the kennel box, 4 tethered birds, 1 catch.
  • Stage 4 5-6 weeks: 8 x 15 minute sessions in the bird loft with 40 birds of three species, smelling all those crazy smells and trying to grab those flushing things out of the air. Really wakes us those little nostrils!!!
  • Stage 5 7-8 weeks: 10 x 30 minute sessions in the brush pen chasing flushing birds... Lets the pups know that if they get too tight, the birds will pop.
  • Stage 6 8-10 weeks: Open Field work on adult Flyaway birds.

This Program imprints pups with a field drive that is truly an amazing thing to watch in 2+ month old pups. The pups arrive at your home knowing what a bird is AND knowing that they are tuff to get without YOUR help!!! Now, YOU can step in as "Zeus with the Thunderstick" and do some real bonding!!!


We socialize our pups as per the Pfaffenberger System developed in 1963 for the Guide Dogs For the Blind. It has been an industry standard since and remains unsurpassed as a systematic approach. Each pup is individually touched and stoked each and every day. At appropriate periods in their development, our pups visit Nursing Homes for 2-4 hours 5 times before 8 weeks of age. Three visits of comparable duration to Day Care Centers complete their human introduction so they are delivered to you as confident and trusting pups.

Our pups have met the rigid standards set for Guide and Service Dogs. We donate two pups annually to each of these programs. In addition, 2 pups are donated to local churches for their Elder Companion Programs. Poorly bred/socialized animals DO NOT make it into these programs.

The pups are also socialized to both older and younger dogs through Great Litter Acculturation. This is a group of pups from several litters of like-size and age with whom the pups live and socialize as a group for 3+ weeks prior to release. Older and younger dogs are also introduced in controlled environments, that the pups learn to interact, minimizing undesirable aspects of "alpha" behavior.

It is very important to notify the kennel if there are any changes in your human and/or animal mix of your family after your initial call to us. This can influence your choice of animal for both sex and/or temperament. We will be happy to assist you in analyzing your situation and help you make the wisest choice.



Our Hip Program is one of the strongest in the world. It penetrates 7 generations deep in our lines. To qualify as Alma Bottom Breeding Stock (male or female), the dog has to pass radiographic examinations at 12 months followed by an Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) rating of Good or Excellent at 18, and 24 months. To continue in our program after that, it has to pass OFA of Good or Excellent at 36 and 96 months. Our Hips Start Strong and End Strong. PennHIP Analysis, an exciting new radiographic technique, is often used to cull stock at 6 months. Patellas are cleared at all exams. At 24 months, OFA elbows are cleared. To date, we've found only one case of CHD in our line. We attribute this to our extensive hip certification on both sides of our breedings. We feel this to be a critical base to any professional breeding program.


Exam for Clear Status by the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) is also a must at 12 months of age. Clear readings are also required at 36 months to remain in the program.


Bloods are run for thyroid clearances also, as there is an increasing incidence (+1%) of high and low readings in Labradors. We breed only those dogs within the normal middle ranges.

A number of less prevalent occurrences are also tested on a proprietary basis


We are proud to announce that we were chosen for the first-ever national Pointing Lab cover illustration. Bird Dog News summarized the current status of pointing labs in its July/Aug '98 issue. Alma Bottom's Doc Evers' stylish point was chosen to grace the cover of this historic issue. Good Job, Doc!!

We've been featured in many programs and articles over the years: a section of the June '93 Gun Dog article by Jim Spencer, and two Outdoor Life articles on pointing labs featuring "Ticker", the world's first certified pointing labrador. Ticker also was the lead dog on a national ESPN airing on Pointing Labradors and appeared in the September '92 issue of Sports Afield. Alma Bottom also been featured in many newspaper articles and radio shows, most notably a lead article in Country Today, the national farm journal. More airings and articles are underway as I write. Pointing Labs are finally a valid subject for journalists to write about. A far cry from the oblivion we suffered under in the early '80s!!!


Yes, you can train your pup yourself. In fact, many think it's the best way. The bond is stronger, the communication deeper. AND we are here to support you in your learning venture with your new pup. They aren't fine bone china; they're Labradors: big, lovable, tractable, friendly dogs that want to do nothing more than please you. You won't break them if you train them yourself. We supply you with the basic training tools for your pup free and point you at the best books and tapes! AND we're available by phone if you hit a wall!! We've seen most of the problems more than once..


Also, to support our owners in the training of their puppies, we have a number of accessories that we furnish FREE with each pup. Applied correctly, this is all you need to train your pup to point and retrieve!!

  • 5 hours of Phone Consultation
  • 2 weeks of Dog Food
  • Wings and Custom Designed Hardware for Flicker Rod work
  • l8" Healing Lead
  • British Slip Lead
  • Whoa Post Tether
  • 50' Check Cord
  • Spiral Training Assistant
  • 5 Training Birds, if you drive in
  • Box of #2 shotshell, 20 or 12 ga. (depending on supply)
  • Choice of Training Book (depending on supply)

We want your pup to get a GREAT START and we give you as much support as we possibly can.


In the past, we've rather sporadically held free Seminar Weekends for our owners to learn how to start their pups right, hands-on. In April '99, we will hold the Spring Seminar for 8 owners at the Elmwood Training Center. Trainers that we regularly work with, will demo techniques on dogs that they are working. Yard work will be demo'd in our main 3 acre exercise area and Field Work on our 120 acres of switchgrass. Water work on our 5 acre pond and adjacent river. The trainers will also help you with your dog in the Hands-On Sessions each day. Call for the reservation schedule, as we can only handle 8 owners at a time (4 New, 4 Current), on a first-come-first-serve. This is a program we expect to expand. Please be patient


For more than two decades, we've met with our owners for a free Wild-Bird Training Clinic under the snow cover of winter Iowa!! In '98/'99, ABPL Owners will meet in New Hampton, Iowa between Christmas and NewYears. Stay in an old hotel, run the dogs 10 hours a day with other ABPL Owners, eat greasy pork steaks and give the birds to the farmers who give us land access. All of that in 10 degree sleet and snow. If that sounds like fun, you're definitely ABPL material... This is about training dogs, not killing thingsAll current ABPL Owners invited. So, if your pup is over 6 months of age, watch your E-mail!!.


We believe it's a conflict of interest to train and breed. In fact, as breeders, we can't see much of the natural ability in a dog, if it's been trained heavily. So, we do not take training contracts, even for dogs we've bred ourselves. This is not because we can't do it ourselves (it sure would be cheaper) but because we NEED the opinions of a variety of trainers about where our line relates to the rest of the dogs out there on the street.

So, we send our own dogs out AND we refer our clients to a small group of trainers who've proven themselves training versatile dogs. So, call us and we'll try to find one of them whose got an empty hole in their dog box.


Occasionally, clients are faced with a family emergency which forces them to be separated from their dogs, temporarily or even permanently. If you must part with your pup, we do our best to help you place him/her with the best hunting family around. Ask us for the details. Sorry, ABPL dogs only.



If you are buying your second or third living dog from us we give these discounts: 10% on second dog, 20% on third and more. Sorry, no discounts on replacement dogs.


Prepay for your dog in full prior to the drop of the litter and we will discount your pup 20%. No whining if your color/sex choice doesn't come up, though. You'll have to roll to the next litter, but you DO get to go to the top, there.


We're real easy on time payment too, so don't be embarrassed to ask. 50% down and you get the dog. We send you the AKC registration when the other 50% of postdates clear. No Interest...You pick the payment schedule. Really.


Professional game guides get a 20% discount on their purchase AND can use TIME PAY too. I was in "the pits" as a pro myself, so I know how hard it is. A good dog is a big help and a GREAT dog makes the dayJust fax us a copy of your state license at deposit time.


We also offer clergy and DNR employees a 10% discount. Gotta support those carrying the word. Not enuf of 'em around...


If you neuter your dog and send us a copy of the vets certificate, we'll send you $50 rebate on a cash available basis. Not much, but, at least you can take "Mom out to dinner" and it's the right thing to do.


We get asked about our warranty. It's simple: For two weeks you can return the dog for any reason. We know of no other kennel that maintains this policy. We escrow your monies and you get all the money back that you've given us for the dog. For whatever reason you don't want the dog. No questions asked. We don't want you to have a dog you don't want. You ship the dog back at your cost.

After that, if there are genetic, health or performance problems, we'll replace the dog with a pup from a comparable litter of your choice or refund your money. Usually, with neutering, you can keep the dog. All breeders have some problems. We believe we've had far fewer than most, if not all. This is an art, not a science.


While all of our dogs previously had their AKC ID# tattooed on them, as a new service we are inserting InfoPet Chips already slipped in when your pup is shipped. These are scanned by the pounds if your pup wanders off. Keeps it from being medical meat... So, don't forget to register your pup

We also hold a DNA Sample at the kennel (hair follicles) and send one with you for your health records. So, if someone drives off with 'Bowser' from the pheasant field (it's happened to me) or from the shopping center and you are able to locate him, YOU HAVE PROOF of his identity, no questions asked. Almost any canine officer in any county in the entire USA will more than happy to assist you in the retrieval of your family member when you present a DNA sample for their testing. From what I hear, it's rarely necessary!!!!


We need video footage and still pix of our puppies, especially 6th and 7th Generation, pointing and retrieving on land and water. So, we'll send you $25 for every videoclip and $15 for every still photo we use on the web. Home video VHS is just fine so keep that tape rolling and those shutters snapping!!


As per the Alma Bottom guarantee, only the animals with the longest noses and IPLA pedigrees with the best Novice scores will be used for breeding. Pointing blood seems to only represent about 4% of the labrador gene pool. It's never been more important to insist on quality breeding. No "Good Ole Boy" stuff around here. Good breeding blood is a hard to find, but that's what you pay us for...

Reservation preference will be given to those who opt to pick up there pups on release day, but we will coordinate shipment for those travel-disadvantaged. Air-shipped pups often take longer to acclimate. We've had lots of experience and will do everything possible to make the trip as smooth as possible.


We like to encourage our clients to run their dogs in field tests. This is a win-win situation for both our clients and the kennel. We continue to support IPLA, APLA, NAVHDA, NSTRA, and NAHRA as well as the AKC Hunt and Water tests. For an owner certifying an Alma Bottom bred dog in one of these programs, we Upgrade Breeding Rights to AKC Full Registration at no additional charge, as well as rebate many entry fees. Clearances for OFA hips, elbows and patellas, CERF and thyroid are required. Ask us for the details and references. Experimental Litters are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

So, what DO they cost??


Please contact us at (715) 639-3933 concerning availability and scheduling.

We price our pups on a base of the breeding level with added charges for females and coat colors:

3rd Generation: $300

4th Generation: $600

5th Generation: $900

6th Generation: $1,200

7th Generation: $1,500

8th Generation: By Spec

The coat/female bump charges are: BM $0, BF +$300, YM +$300, YF +$900,

WM+$900, WF +$1200, CM +$300, CF+$60

First and Second Picks are +$600 and +$300 respectively. Picks are on a first come, first serve basis, with preference given to those who come to the kennel for release day. Breeders Choice may be exercised by ABPL with some limited breedings. If picks are not purchased, there are no position charges. Deposits of $300 will hold a place in line until the pups are on the ground. Full payment prior to shipment are normal terms, with shipping charges, kennels, and health papers extra.

You will be furnished with a Complete Vaccination and Worming Schedule with your pup for your vet. All pups have had an aggressive shot schedule, but many shots give only prophylactic limited protection, so schedule a visit with your vet to confirm your pup's health. Your parvo warranty covers 3 days only. Please don't expose your dog to any unnecessary risk. We'll do our best here.


The cost of studding varies by individual dog used, but ranges from $500 to $1,000

All fees are prepaid. The base fee allows for 2 locks separated by 48 hours. Additional locks may be secured for standing and boarding fees. Balances will be refunded or credited to future breedings at the discretion of ABPL. A current health certificate and brucellosis screen is required or will be secured locally for you at cost, if that is more convenient. Females-not-in-heat will be held for 3 days without boarding charges. A standing fee of $100 will be retained in the case of 'no-take' or antagonistic dams. Qualification of dams is at the discretion of ABPL.

Unproven studs will stand for no fee unless there is a lock. Locks must be prepaid and will be refunded in cash, if there is no take. Sperm count tests will be secured at cost on request.

Copies of the AKC registration of the dam must be furnished prior to studding. DNA hair sample will be taken at time of breeding. DNA hair samples of the stud furnished on request. Accommodations for owners are available on site or locally.


We encourage our buyers to come to the kennel and spend a couple of days picking their pups. This helps you to get to know the pups and to start the bonding process. Hopefully you can drive in. This avoids the pitfalls of air freight. A small percentage (~5%) of pups take longer to recover from Separation Anxiety (3-5 weeks)when shipped. For those travel dis-advantaged, we will Air Ship Counter-to-Counter PrePaid, weather permitting.

However, we also offer Courier Service at cost, both surface and air. We either deliver the dog by highway, or accompany it on a plane for multi-stop, layover trips. On first blush, this might seems unnecessarily costly, it's quite a bit less expensive than the remedial services. Think about it and ask us for details if you can't drive in yourself. It might be worth it.

Thanks for your time and attention.

Stu West


Alma Bottom Pointing Labradors
N4758 350th Street
Elmwood, Wisconsin 54740

(715) 639-3933